Less than a year into his second term as Florida's Chief Financial Officer, Jeff Atwater says he is asked daily about future political ambitions.
And so far, the former Senate president and former bank president --- who can't run again for the CFO post because of term limits --- professes that team Atwater hasn't made any decisions.
"We're not maneuvering our energy in any direction at this point for any future role," Atwater said, insisting that was his "straight up honest answer."
"I'm hoping that my job performance creates the occasion for me to be considered as a strong candidate in what might be future opportunities that might present themselves," Atwater added during a sit down Tuesday with The News Service of Florida.
Gov. Rick Scott has been raising and spending money through a political committee, "Let's Get to Work," in advance of what many people speculate is a 2018 run for the U.S. Senate.
Meanwhile, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has picked up Scott campaign fundraising whiz Meredith O'Rourke, as Capitol insiders discuss the likelihood of the Bartow Republican undertaking a gubernatorial run in 2018.
Atwater admitted he's watching Putnam and Scott, but said it may take six months or even a year to figure what direction he'll want to go politically.
"It would be irresponsible not to explore those other options, in starting to put some of your thought process, which would mean energy, towards laying the groundwork for such an opportunity," Atwater said. "But at this point, it's just about doing this job and staying very active across the state in responsiveness to the people who expect to hear from the CFO or expect to hear from a statewide Republican Cabinet member."
Atwater, a St. Louis Cardinals fan who grew up in North Palm Beach and still resides in the Palm Beach County village, quelled talk in April that he would run next year for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by presidential candidate Marco Rubio.
SCOTT WILL DO YOU A FAVOR FOR 12 MILLION JOBS
If you're a Republican presidential candidate and crave Scott's endorsement, a potentially lucrative get from an important swing state, you need to build on his 2010 playbook.
Promise jobs, 12 million of them across the country within four years, along with a balanced budget and fewer regulations, Scott repeatedly said this week.
"Whoever is running for president, that is what their plan ought to be," Scott told the Capitol press corps --- without prompting --- after a Cabinet meeting Wednesday.
It was difficult to tell if Scott was disappointed when there were no follow-up questions from the press gaggle about his presidential criteria.
A day earlier, Scott was on FOX News promoting the expansion of his 2010 jobs platform, which called for creating 700,000 jobs in seven years.
"I want a candidate who is going to say, 'We're going to have a plan, we have a plan, for 12 million jobs over four years, and not only do we have the idea how to do it, we know we can implement it,'" Scott told FOX News anchor Gretchen Carlson.
Scott sidestepped Carlson's questions about whether he is backing former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Rubio or any of the other Republican presidential candidates and whether he's heard from any of the candidates about his proposal.
"I'm going to support somebody that's going to help our state continue to add jobs," Scott said.
As of Thursday afternoon, it was still unknown if Scott had heard from anyone in the GOP field.
TWEET OF THE WEEK:
"Currently resting at home with a cold. Waiting for lab results. Nothing to worry about beyond that at this time. Thx for the well wishes." --- State Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, (@mattgaetz). On Wednesday, Gaetz's father, Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, said the younger Gaetz was home under quarantine due to a case of whooping cough contracted from Florida Congressman Carlos Curbelo. Matt Gaetz said his father had spoken prematurely.